Results tagged ‘ Justin Masterson ’

“Baseball Bubble”

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Today, I realized something– I can tell you more about baseball than I can about global issues– way more. I honestly did not know the name of the North Korean dictator until this afternoon. Is this bad? I remember Jane mentioning a story similar to this in her book. She was reading the newspaper and some kind of headline like ‘The Tribe is Suffering’ came up, and she thought it was about the Cleveland Indians. I’m not going to lie to you, upon reading it, I thought she was referencing the Cleveland Indians as well. I live in my own little baseball bubble as well. 

For example, in math today, when my teacher asked me the scores of the World Baseball Classic from Sunday, I was perfectly able to recite that. When he asked me to find the external arc of a circle, I was clueless. 

During my Life Skills class, we began learning about drugs; so we were each assigned a drug to research and present to the class. I kindly forced asked the student next to me to switch topics with me so I could write about steroids. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk about steroids in my project, but I think I’m going to go on a long tangent about steroids in baseball, and then go on to talk about Pete Rose and how it’s ridiculous that he is not in the Hall of Fame. 
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I had heard about the rumored Jon Lester deal yesterday, but it wasn’t until I was watching Team USA beat up on Team Venezuela that I heard that the deal was finalized. It was a five year deal worth $30 million, with a $14 million option for 2014! This is what the Red Sox have been doing all offseason: locking up their proven young players! We all know that Jon Lester had a breakout year last year. I don’t need to re-emphasize his no-hitter and that great comeback story of his. The bottom line is: he is a good pitcher. He has great command of his fastball, and is even working on a changeup! At this pace, he is on the track to becoming one of the most feared left handed pitchers of the game. 
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A-Rod is officially having surgery, though, not the same surgery that Mike Lowell had on his torn labrum. I think this is “arthroscopic surgery” and they few medical terms that I know are the ones that I have heard of on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. This is not one of them. However, from what I have gathered, this surgery will allow A-Rod to return in 6-9 weeks rather than 12-16 weeks. This was the right decision.
Like I’ve said before, it was painful for me to watch Mike Lowell play last season, and it was painful for him. If it’s already painful for Alex, it was only going to get worse. This surgery will minimize the damage, and he will have the rest of the surgery after the season. Plus, this gives A-Rod some down time. With this steroid scandal, and his inability to keep a straight story, and all Torre’s blows to him– he needs some time off. 
So what are the Yankees to do in the meantime without their cleanup batter? Alright so they have Cody Ransom to fill the void at third base, but that does not fill the offensive void. The Yankees are going to have to totally re-work their lineup. Sure Mark Teixeira has a bat, but other than him, the offense is a tad on the mediocre side. Luckily they have some serious pitching to balance that. 
World Baseball Classic 
The USA is redeeming itself after the 2006 tournament as it did not falter after its first win. They beat Team Venezuela 15-6 thanks to some key hits off of the shaky Venezuelan bullpen, and some strong relief pitching. 
Roy Oswalt had a decent outing, but definitely not the best. The problem is, these games actually matter (in a sense). This is still Spring Training to some of these guys. The guys on international teams have been playing Winter Ball. These guys? This is just the start of stuff for them. 
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The US broke it open in the sixth inning by scoring eight runs. Mark DeRosa hit a triple and batted in a total of four runs. Chris Iannetta had a great bases clearing double and also had four RBIs. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Ianetta. Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn hit their second home runs of the classic, and Ryan Braun hit his first. Dustin Pedroia had a great play at second base if you guys didn’t get to see it. It was one of those plays that NO ONE should make. 
The bullpen was backed by some great run support so Ziegler’s two earned runs and Bell’s one were not that significant. Matt Lindstrom of the Florida Marlins picked up the win. 
Red Sox Spring Training
On Sunday I had to go to school for an American History catch up day– didn’t mind too much because I love that class. Anyway, the class started at one, and there was a Red Sox vs Rays game at one. Luckily, my friend lent me his iPhone so I was periodically refreshing the play-by-play throughout the whole class. 
Julio Lugo had a great day as he went 3-3 with two RBIs and two doubles. My project, Nick Green, hit a home run, as did Zach Daeges (despite his weird batting stance) and Jonathan Van Every. 
Justin Masterson pitched three beautiful innings of one hit ball and was followed by Jonathan Papelbon, who threw a scoreless inning but allowed two runs. Did I mention that he is working on a slider? Yet another pitch to vanquish victims. Daniel Bard (potential project) struck out the side, and Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden each allowed one run. 
I have now set a goal for Michael Bowden: one outing without any earned runs! 
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The Red Sox played an exciting game today against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which the Red Sox won on an RBI double by Josh Reddick in the bottom of the tenth. I watched the first two innings during my Life Skills class while “researching” steroids. I wasn’t just going to pass up that opportunity.
One of my projects, Jeff Bailey, went 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Project Nick Green hit another home run as did Dusty Brown. I remember Dusty Brown from last year’s Spring Training and from a Pawtucket game. I like him, but I need to see a bit more of him to decide his project potential. 
Josh Bard continued to
make his presence known by hitting another home run today and collecting three RBIs. I’m thinking that this whole competition thing is making Lowrie a little nervous. I just want him to be himself, because I know he can do well either starting on off the bench. 

Spring Training Behind the Scences & My Take on the Latest News

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I’ve told you all what my first two Spring Training games were like– in the “reporting” sense that is. I gave you some scouting reports (if those even classify as scouting reports), my projects, and a couple of cool stories. One of the most fun parts about a baseball game though, is the people that you meet and the conversations that you have. Baseball is baseball, but that entire experience of going to the ballpark is so special for a reason. It’s not just the game, because you can just watch that on TV. There’s that special tunnel experience, the bad overpriced food, and the people. Can you imagine what a baseball game would be like without the people? 

Every game you go to, no matter who you are– you talk to someone. You talk about baseball, and nothing else. So I thought that I would share with you what happened behind the scenes in Spring Training– the conversations. 
Before the second game, I was down near the dugout with a bunch of other fans. We were all trying to get autographs, so me and this nine-year-old girl were looking through my program, trying to find the numbers of players that we didn’t know so we could call their names. I became the official yeller, and I didn’t mind at all. 
Karen and Kathleen were down there too, and we were all just talking about the Red Sox and what we thought about this year and what we thought about last year, and more. Somehow, a fire drill started to go off. 
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There was no way I was leaving. Kathleen declared that we should all “report on the field in an orderly fashion”. Hey, that’s how they do it at my school. Thankfully, we weren’t forced to leave. Believe me, I would not have gone easily. 
Once the game started, Papi got on base, and we were talking about how we think that we may have seen him steal once. It sounds mythical doesn’t it? “Did the space-time continuum stop or something?” Kathleen asked. I do remember seeing Manny steal last year (we’ll get to him later), and if anything, Papi probably stole on a passed ball. 
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One of the funniest moments came when Wes Littleton was pitching. One of the Reds hit a ground ball to second base, and I guess he “fell” and rolled down the first base line a bit, got up and continued running. As Jimmy would say, that would have been my “rare moment of the game”. Kathleen put it best when she classified the move as a “roundoff back handspring”. We, the fans, gave him a 6.5 
I have a question for you all. How the hell is Justin Masterson 250 pounds? I was looking through my program, and when I came across my former project, I had to stop. Granted he is 6’6″, but really, 250 pounds? He does not look that… he is so lanky! That’s bigger than Big Papi! 
My Take on Baseball News 
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Starting off with the biggest news, Manny. Well, well, well a two-year $45 million deal. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Kind of like the same offer that was on the table four months ago? This is yet another piece of evidence that Scott Boras overestimated the market this year. The only people that I can recall right now that got more than one year deals were AJ Burnett, CC Sabbathia, and Mark Teixeira– well, those are the must substantial deals anyway. So Manny wanted six years, in the “A-Rod range”. 
Two things wrong with that expectation:
1. No one in their right mind is going to give Manny six years. After what he pulled in Boston? He even got an opt-out clause in his contract after one year. We all know Manny has commitment issues. He hasn’t even expressed interest for playing the second year. 
2. I know that Manny is good– I know that he is Hall of Fame caliber. But no one deserves that kind of money. I don’t care how good you are, $27 million dollars a year is absolutely ridiculous. 
So as I was reading the article on this, one of his quotes really hurt me:

“I’m in a great place where I want to play. I am happy, my teammates love me, the fans love me. Sometimes it’s better to have a two-year deal in a place you’re happy than an eight year deal in a place you suffer” 

I would have been alright if he had just said “I’m in a great place where I want to play.” He should say something like that. I’m glad that he is happy, I really am. But, I’m pretty sure that the Red Sox players loved Manny until one point. He was just being Manny. And let me tell you something, us fans LOVED him. I’m sorry, but that statement implies that the fans didn’t love him. Let me tell you guys something, I loved Manny to death, and that statement just plain hurts. Don’t take me for granted, Manny. 
And was he really unhappy in Boston for eight years? I don’t think so. I think he liked it for sometime. I have to say, I feel a little betrayed. 

A-Rod injured
So A-Rod has a torn hip labrum that will require surgery, and he’s not getting it yet. I’m pretty sure that’s what Mike Lowell had, and that was not good. It limited his range (and we already know that A-Rod is not the best defensive third baseman) and Lowell said it felt like a “knife” every time he swung. 
According to Brian Cashman, they’re going to delay surgery until after 2009. After all, the surgery would take at least four months out of A-Rod’s season, and that’s a lot. We all know how he contributes to that lineup, just not in the clutch. A-Rod has put up some good stats thus far in Spring Training though. But as it worsens throughout the season, it could definitely have a detrimental effect. 
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Brad Penny didn’t start today against Puerto Rico like he was supposed to. I guess the shoulder strength wasn’t where it needed to be. Well, I’d rather take it slow with a guy coming off an injury like that than rush him into anything. That’s what Spring Training is all about. Better now than during the season anyway. 
JD Drew went to Boston a few days ago to get a shock in his lower back beca
use he has been feeling stiffness. I’m not too concerned though, I mean, he did say that once he gets loose that he is fine. Lowell is also saying that he feels better, not feeling the knife anymore. His first start should come soon. 
I’m really enjoying this battle for shortstop. Both guys are looking great thus far. I think that Chris Carter would make a great addition to the bench too. 
**Update: I am no longer going to the game this weekend. It’s too risky to drive all the way to Port Charlotte and not get anything– I mean, it is a Red Sox vs Rays game. Next week against the Orioles though, I’m there. Much closer too! And Jenn has been kind enough to teach me how to put photos in here. I’m excited… Here is one now, the most artsy shot of the day:
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-Elizabeth

The First Game of Spring

It seems that anything of significance in the baseball world happens in my English class. When the MVPs were announced, I was in English. When the HOF inductees were announced, I was in English. And when Josh Beckett took the mound for the Red Sox against the Boston College Eagles, guess where I was? English. On my way, I was searching for someone that I could beg to borrow his or her phone. No such luck. I was not able to see whether Josh Beckett’s first pitch was a ball or a strike. 

I did feel like I contributed to that game in some way, shape or form. I’m very superstitious when it comes to baseball, kind of like Jane as she describes in her book. Well, as I was taking my notebook out for my American History class second period, I realized that I had a Yankee book in my backpack. ‘That can’t be good chi,’ I thought, so I asked my friend to guard it in her locker. Nothing personal Jane, just superstitions. 
The Red Sox beat the Eagles 7-1. A couple minor leaguers, including Chris Carter, had a nice game, and Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings and struck out two. 
Disappointed as I was for missing the afternoon game, I was quite excited when I found out that the evening game would be broadcasted on MLB Network. 
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first inning by swinging at the first pitch he saw. ‘Patience!’ I thought! Well, he learned from his mistake in his next at-bat, and waited a few pitches before flying out to left. The important part is, he did make contact. 
Dustin Pedroia collected the first hit of the game, hitting a nice double, which isn’t surprising for a guy coming off an MVP season. 
I watched in awe as Tim Wakefield took the mound for the Sox. That knuckleball of his has been around since 1995. He played in Pittsburgh before that! I can’t imagine him anywhere else but the Red Sox, I’m glad that the Sox decided to pick up his option. Wake gave up three runs over two innings– a few batters were able to time the knuckle ball down, but some of the runs were just results of balls that got through the gap. The defense was a little rusty, but what can you expect after a long offseason? I just hate those blooper balls that fall in the proverbial bermuda triangle. Those aggravate me, unless the Red Sox hit one. 
Those balls going through the gap even got to Youkilis, it wasn’t just Diaz (SS) and Khoury (3B). By the way, did you guys see Youk’s latest Youk Fu? I thought that was hilarious! 
Josh Bard did a nice job catching Wakefield’s knuckleball. I think he should work on throwing over to second, because it’s pretty easy to steal considering Wakefield’s knuckleball is basically 68 mph. There was also one play in which Brad Wilkerson, recently acquired from the Blue Jays (RF) threw the ball in from the outfield and Bard tried to tag the guy before catching the ball. In the future, let’s catch before tagging :)
Billy Traber tried to pull a Dice-K: loading the bases with no outs. Even though it is Spring Training, it still gave me a heart attack. Dice-K may be the only pitcher in the majors who can get himself into jams and get out unscathed. You’re not there yet Billy, baby steps. After giving up a few runs, Billy did settle down to throw a couple of nice pitches. 
Justin Masterson was sporting a beard, so he looks a bit older. Masterson, Delcarmen, Lopez, and Rairez all pitched beautifully, giving up zero runs over five innings. Masterson was a bit shaky at first, but he calmed down after a little bit. 
Let me tell you guys, I am very impressed with Ramon Ramirez. Much as I miss Coco, that was a great trade. Three up, three down and two strikeouts. Talk about a great first impression. I would make him my project, but my projects are strictly confined to minor leaguers. 
Speaking of projects, Jeff Bailey has pretty much secured his spot as one of my projects. I was aware of him when he was with the Red Sox in 2008, and I liked what I saw, so he was definitely on my radar for tonight’s game. I hope to see him this weekend, as well as Lars Anderson. 
Jed Lowrie looked pretty good tonight, solid effort with some of those balls up the middle and a nice triple with an RBI. Jeff Bailey had the other RBI. I’m in the process of getting to know these minor league guys, but I should have at least three projects by the end of the Grapefruit League. 
To answer Jacobyluvr’s question, Jed Lowrie was my project last year. I was waiting for autographs outside of the player’s parking lot, and he drove out slowly, so I ran into the middle of the street to get an autograph. I barely knew who he was! After that autograph though, I knew he’d be coming. 
Rem-Dawg was unable to join Don Orsillo at the game tonight, he has an infection. All of us here at Red Sox Nation, and even on the entire blogosphere hope you feel better. Now, the Red Sox can always call me if they need an extra play-by-play. I feel like they have a mic wired to my house because they always talk about whatever I just finished talking about within five minutes. Maybe I’ll do that someday. 
Overall, I was impressed with the Red Sox’s performance, and I cannot wait until tomorrow. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I had this post ready to go an hour ago, but as I was looking around the internet for pictures, I somehow closed this window, and the blog was lost.
I’ll be bringing back some pictures this weekend! 
-Elizabeth

A Brief Look at the Future of the Red Sox Pitching Staff

Yesterday, ‘Jacobyluvr’ posted a comment with some great questions regarding the future some of the Red Sox’s young pitching stars. Here’s my take on them:

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Where might Jon Lester be in the starting rotation? 
Lester really stepped it up last year, and pretty much established himself as the ace of our staff. I think that he would do great in the number one slot. He had great success in the post season as the ace of our staff (besides Game 3 of the ’08 ALCS) and I think that success will carry over into next year. In 2008, Beckett was plagued with injuries so his stats declined a bit, but this could also come from the amount of pressure that came from being the runner up to winning the Cy Young. Since Lester wasn’t in the running for the Cy Young, I think he’ll be okay. If he doesn’t start in the first slot, I can see him in the third slot. For some reason Dice-K seems like a second slot guy to me. 
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What are your thoughts on Clay Buchholz, is he still with us?
Yes, Clay is still with us. The Red Sox were smart to keep him in Double AA Portland after starting the season out 2-9. There is no doubt that Buchholz has talent, after all he did throw a no hitter against the Orioles on September 1, 2007. It was noted by various reporters that Buchholz’s stuff improved in Double AA, as well as in the AFL (Arizona Fall League). Seeing that Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, I think that 2008 will be a year that Buchholz can really develop and fine tune his techniques so that he is ready to start in 2009. 
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What about Masterson?
The great thing about Masterson is that he is very flexible. Smoltz won’t be coming back until about June, so Penny could either be starting, or in the bullpen. If Penny is in the bullpen, than I think Masterson could serve as a great temporary fifth starter. We know that Masterson can handle pressure, and for such a young guy, that’s impressive, and reassuring to know. In Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS Terry Francona and John Farrell put him in the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead and he put two men on– but after being briefly talked to by Varitek and Farrell, he was able to settle down and close it out. He is also training as a starter so that he can go wherever the Red Sox need him to go. In the long run, depending on how Buchholz turns out, he could be a starter. For now, I see him as a reliever though. 
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Did you see MLB Network’s Prime 9 on short stops? If so, what did you think of A-Rod being ranked second? 
I am definitely one that gives credit where credit is due, but I honestly don’t think that A-Rod deserved to be ranked the second greatest short stop of all time. I think that he can be ranked up there in the top nine, but just not second. Personally, the top three shortstop for me are:
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Honus Wagner
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Ozzie Smith “The Wizard of Oz”
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Cal Ripken Jr. 
I know that A-Rod has accomplished some incredible feats, he is probably one of the greatest baseball players of our time, but just not the SECOND best, perhaps the fifth best.
As we all know, it looks like the Ricketts family is going to be purchasing the Cubs. What I didn’t know until today was how Cubs fans feel about this. Cubs bloggers if you’re out there, please leave your URL because I would love to read your opinions on this. Anyway, I decided to investigate and find out what one Cubs fan thinks about this. Jen, I’m sure you hate him already.
I found William Hector today actually wearing Cubs colors, I wondered if it was intentional but he classified it as a coincidence. William doesn’t keep up with all the names of players and what not, but he loves watching the games. 
Me: William, how do you feel about the Cubs new ownership?
William: I like it! I like it better than Hank Steinbrenner. 
Now Yankee fans this does seem like a low blow to the Yankees, but William is actually a Yankee fan! I neglected to ask him how he felt about Jake Peavy when we got onto the topic of Joe Torre’s new book. He asked me if I was reading it, but I told him I was reading my friend, Jane’s book first. 
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Speaking of Jane’s book, I’ve come up with a few reasons why I’ll be reading hers first as oppose to Torre’s. 
Joe Torre bashes A-Rod a lot in his book. Don’t I already know that I don’t like A-Rod? Does Joe Torre have to convince me to continue not liking A-Rod? Absolutely not! I know Jane is a Yankee fan and all, but she’s still a baseball fan right? Torre is a manager, Jane is a fan (and wicked author). I think I can relate to Jane a bit more than I can relate to Torre. Plus, after reading an excerpt from it on Amazon, I laughed! Torre’s book just reaffirmed my hatred for the Yankees.
I’m not looking to have my beliefs changed AT ALL, I’m fine with hating the Yankees but that doesn’t mean I hate ALL Yankee fans. The Yankee fans here actually are quite smart, and make it easy to actually co-exist with them! 
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I’ve decided to be a conformist and join the fantasy
baseball craze. From what I’ve heard, I have to rally up some friends and start a league on either Yahoo or ESPN. So, here’s an open call to all who would like to start a fantasy baseball team with me. 
Varitek, your deadline is Friday. Funny how Scott Boras was quoted saying that “he has nothing to say”. This is good, as long as he keeps his mouth shut, we’re all better off!
-Elizabeth

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

Future Blog of the Red Sox Makes #19

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Wow, I can’t believe that my blog made number nineteen among Fan Blogs. When I joined this site, I honestly did not expect to even be in the Top 100 at any time, so this is really surprising. So of course the only thing I can do is thank the people who read these, and the comments that they leave. I truly enjoy reading all of them and replying. And I love reading your blogs as well! I guess this means that I’m one of the most popular young bloggers on the site (alright ‘Burgh Blues, you’ve got me)– and the most popular young Red Sox blog on the site? But hey, Bigpapi72 is up there too! You guys are really making my dreams come true!! 

So as I was scrolling through the comments on Mark’s ‘Latest Leaders‘, I noticed that Jimmy dedicates whatever ranking he is to a player. So Jimmy, consider yourself an inspirational figure because you’ve inspired me to do the same!
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I dedicate number nineteen to the great Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn. You can see him in my ‘Best Red Sox of All Time‘ entry. 
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Alright, and a quick shout out to Josh Beckett as well who also wears number nineteen. I still think that he should’ve won the Cy Young award in 2007 rather than CC Sabathia. I had this argument earlier this morning with my friend, Nick. Obviously, I won :)
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The Red Sox have truly made their bullpen one of the best in baseball. The bullpen is where the Sox struggled the most (other than injuries) last year in my opinion, and Theo has really salvaged that. We just recently picked up Takashi Saito. He’s been with the Dodgers for the past three years and has a 1.95 ERA. I love the sound of that!! The Red Sox have one of the best bullpen’s in baseball going into the 2009 season.
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A couple of entries ago, ‘Levelboss’ asked me where Masterson is going to go. I think that’s one of the best questions anyone could ask about our pitching staff right now. Justin Masterson is so versatile that he could start OR be a force in the bullpen. Now that we have Smoltz probably going into a starting slot when he returns around June, we could probably have Masterson starting until then. The thing is, the Red Sox are going to have to look at Brad Penny during Spring Training to see if he’s destined for the bullpen, or the starting rotation until June. 
MLBlogs I want YOU to offer your opinions about my research paper–don’t worry it’s about baseball. 
In my death AP American History class, we have a research paper, and I’ve decided to manipulate it so I can write about baseball. Basically, we have to write about how new ‘spaces and liberties’ were created in America’s Gilded Age. Luckily, we can talk about cultural spaces as well– and baseball is one of the richest cultural ‘spaces’ in the history of America! And I think you guys have some of the best opinions and ideas out there. So, if you have any opinions or suggestions on this topic, I’d be happy to hear it! 
-Elizabeth

A Year in Review

Well to start off, I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas. Santa brought me some wonderful Red Sox artifacts to decorate my room and car with. I’m pretty sure my room looks like a mini-Red Sox gift shop, which is perfectly fine with me, and not a big surprise to my friends. As far as my car goes, I’m pretty sure people will know who drives it when I park near my school next year (if possible). So if anyone is seeking vengeance on me, all they have to do is look for the Red Sox license plate. And now, to salvage the lack of baseball, I have the amazing 2007 Red Sox playoff run (and special moments). That might be able to carry me through to Spring Training (or at least another week to it). 

Anyway, when I was on the Sox site yesterday, Aiden Gonzalez posted a nice Red Sox Year in Review type article highlighting the major events of each month. Here are some of my favorite memories from each month of 2008.
January:
I’m pretty sure it was January when the Sox were in the Johan Santana sweepstakes with the Mets. I was so nervous during that because I really didn’t want Johan Santana. Sure he’s an incredible pitcher and what not, but we would’ve had to give up guys like Jon Lester, Justin Masterson and Jacoby Ellsbury. Think about how much that would’ve changed the season without those guys! Lester wouldn’t have become the ace of the Red Sox, there wouldn’t have been that beautiful no-no on May 19; Justin Masterson wouldn’t have been able to give the Red Sox life in the late innings of the tight playoff games; and we wouldn’t have the future star center fielder on the Red Sox, who makes incredible catches almost on a daily basis, and can steal any time. 
February:
The Sox signed Youkilis to that one year $3 million dollar deal during this month. That was a relief for sure seeing that he finished third in the MVP voting, batted an incredible .312, and was so helpful when he showed his versatility when he moved to third base. I sure hope that the Sox can sign him to a long term contract. 
Also, one of the most important men during every game, Terry Francona, received a three-year contract extension with options for the next two years. 
During this month the Sox also signed the good guy Sean Casey, who gave us laughs when he tripped over second base, then crawled back; Bobby Kielty, who made an incredible catch during one of the Spring Training games I was at; and Bartolo Colon, who wasn’t much of a help at all. 
March:
The beautiful Spring Training month, in which I was lucky enough to go to two glorious games at City of Palms Park. I met some really great people, and after the games, I would walk down to the player’s parking lot to try and get an autograph. I only got one, but I ran out into the middle of the street to stop Jed Lowrie’s car! It was at these Spring Training games that I knew that Jed Lowrie would come up and be a great help to the Red Sox. It was also at the first Spring Training game I went to that Beckett first started having back spasms. 
April
Tokyo Dome.jpg
One word: Japan! Those games were not at the most convenient times. I made the mistake of getting up at 5:30 am because I thought there would be pre-game. Apparently not. I remember the first game perfectly, at school we had assembly, but a few of my friends and I were sitting in the very back on my friend Nick’s iPhone, watching Game Day very intensly. We had to hush ourselves when Brandon Moss hit the home run and when Manny Ramirez hit the double. Then, we all ran to the closest room with cable (conveniently my next classroom) and watched the game. I led the five minute rebellion in which I refused to let class begin until the last out was recorded. 
A couple of good games I was reminded of while reading this article was the ninth inning go-ahead home run in Clevland by Manny, battling back from five runs to beat the Rangers 6-5, and Youk’s walk off single that ended Roy Halladay’s shutout. 
One thing I remember quite vividly was when David Ortiz came up with the bases loaded in that Rangers game, and I called it. I knew he would come out of the slump right then and there, placement and everything.
May
Jon Lester.jpg
Where to begin but Lester’s beautiful no hitter against the Royals on May 19? I was studying for my finals (while watching the game of course) but when I realized it in the seventh inning, I put the books away, to see one of the most beautiful performances of the year. The Sox won on my birthday in a late West Coast game (which I stayed up for of course even though I had finals the next day), and Manny hit number 500 at my little get together with some friends. 
June
Coco Crisp Fight.jpg
I was away for the last half of June at camp, but I was able to see Jacoby break the rookie record for steals, and see half of JD Drew’s incredible month, and of course most memorably, the Coco Crisp fight. I had seen things get heated the night before, with Iwamura, and I knew that as soon as Shields hit Coco (purposefully of course) that Coco would go after him. 
July
We all saw Josh Hamilton’s memorable Home Run Derby which was absolutely incredible. And we all saw the All-Star game, appropriately at Yankee Stadium. Did any of you get to go? It was so nice to see JD Drew be named the MVP of the All-Star game for helping to lead the American League to victory. Probably the saddest part of July for me, was the Manny Ramirez trade. I was upset at him for being a d-bag the past couple of weeks, but I still loved him to death. He still waved to me at Fenway Park, and he was still Manny! I found out when I arrived at my cousin’s house in Delaware, I didn’t cry though– I was in shock, and I realized that it had kind of been inevitable. 
August
Jason Bay.jpg
I came to love Jason Bay. I remember the walk-off run he scored in his first game, and the home run he hit in his second.He
was really a team player and I loved that about him. I hope the Sox sign him to a long contract. The injuries hit hard this month: Lowell, Drew, Wakefield (even though it was the best month of the season), and Lester got AL Pitcher of the Month honors.
September
My favorite part of this month was September 15. My father and I took the second half of the day off, drove four and a half hours to Tampa to see the Red Sox and Rays. It was nice to see the Red Sox win. What I found funny is that upon walking in, Sweet Caroline was playing! So of course the cluster of Red Sox fans were belting Sweet Caroline! We got back at 3 in the morning, and I had to take a Geometry test the next day. It was all worth it though. 
On September 23, a win against the Indians, the Sox assured themselves a playoff spot, which is always special to watch, and even though we didn’t win the division, the Wild Card was just as good. 
October
JD Drew.jpg
“There’s only one October!” as October Gonzo puts it. This was the month I joined MLBlogs, and I’m sure glad that I did. I’ve met so many great people (more on that next entry). One of my favorite parts of the year, the high stress playoffs! I was in the Bahamas with my friend for the first two games, but luckily we got the games in our room, so I was up late watching them of course. I remember I fell asleep during Game 3 with a broom, and watching the magical Game 4. Jason Varitek making that beautiful play down the third base line, the suicide squeeze, Jed’s walk-off single, and Jason Bay sliding into home! That was so exciting.
The ALCS was even more stressful. Dice-K pitched beautifully at the Trop in Game 1, but it went downhill during Games 2-4. I was so scared during Game 5, especially when it was 7-0. But as soon as Pedroia got that first RBI, I knew. And we all know the miracle that happened. Game 7 was somewhat of a disappointment, but it was still a beautiful season. 
November
Pedroia snagged a couple of awards: a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and the AL MVP Honors. A great first two seasons for him. Coco Crisp was also dealt to the Royals, and I miss his feistiness, but I think we all knew that Jacoby is the future. The Sox also picked up Wake’s option, and signed Wes Littleton. Jacoby Ellsbury finished third in ROY voting, and Francona finished fourth in the manager of the year award. 
December
Pedroia got his six year contract extension, which was a very happy day in RSN seeing that Pedroia essentially “embodies a Red Sox player” as Epstein put it, and Junichi Tazawa was signed. 
It was a great year for the Red Sox, and I hope 2009 is as well! 

How about bringing Derek Lowe back?

So I’ve heard that Derek Lowe wants to come back, and that the Sox would be interested in starting him. What harm could that do? I think everyone still loves him in RSN, there’s no real reason not to. He only left after ’04 because he was a free agent, it’s not like he betrayed an entire organization and went to a team that he said he would never go to (yeah, y’all know who I’m talking about right?). Plus, it would add some serious depth to our starting rotation. Look who we already have:

1. Josh Beckett
2. Dice-K Matsuzaka
3. Jon Lester
Those three right there are going to be sick, especially if we can a) get Dice-K to go more innings and b) get Beckett healthy, and c) just keep Lester the way he is. Now, we picked up the option on Wakefield, so he could be the number 4 starter, but think about this: say we pick up Lowe, he’d be our number 4 starter. So we could either make Timmy our fifth starter, or put him in the bullpen, like a Mike Timlin type person. We could have one of our darling prospects vie for a fifth spot in the rotation, and if that doesn’t work, then we just bring Wake back into the rotation. We can let Terry and John fret over that when it comes time, right now, I hope that they’re sleeping. 
According to the ‘Hot Stove Blog’ the Sox talked with the Rangers about Salty. Apparently, the Rangers “covet” Buchholz, or the Sox would give up someone like Masterson or Bowden. I don’t think anything SHOULD happen. Here’s why
1) We should re-sign Varitek. Like I’ve said, you don’t just give up on a guy after a bad year, give him another chance. He’s so important. If we re-sign him, we have no need for Salty. 
2) Sure Clay Buchholz went 2-9, but that’s because they screwed him over in his rehab stint. Apparently, he’s doing pretty well in the AFL. Why not see how he is in spring training? How much would we regret it if he became a big star on another team? The Sox have a knack for developing some wicked players.
3) JUSTIN MASTERSON! Why would we trade him? He’s amazing, did you NOT see him in the post season? He could be a potential fifth starter, OR add depth to the ‘pen, which we desperately need!!!
4) Michael Bowden. I hear he’s good, let’s develop him!!! 
So yeah, I’m pretty protective of allthe players, I really like them all, and I want to keep them for a while. I’m open to a Julio Lugo trade, I wonder who we could get for him? 

Looks like the Sox bullpen can get the job done…

Game 6 isn’t going to be remembered for some spectacular, unbelievable feat like Curt Schilling’s bloody sock of 2004, or Pedro’s six innings of hitless relief in 1999. Josh Beckett pitched through five laborious innings, but with his lack of perfection, it was pretty damn good for what it’s worth. Everyone is so proud of him, or everyone should be. After starting out rough for the Sox this post season, he really turned it around for this start giving up only four hits (two of them home runs: one to BJ Upton, and one to Jason Bartlett). Stupid TBS decided to have a power problem that forced me to endure 15 minutes of ‘The Steve Harvey Show’. Watching it on gameday just isn’t the same, no matter how fancy they try and make it.I’m hoping that TBS is forbidden from further broadcasting crucial MLB games. The early deficit was no problem for the Red Sox. The RBI machine, Kevin Youkilis belted a solo home run in the top of the second inning to even it up. Barlett’s throwing error proved crucial once again when it allowed Dustin Pedroia to get on base in the next inning. Big Papi then hit a double putting runners on second and third for Kevin Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis grounded into a fielder’s choice, but it did score Dustin Pedroia. Youk always does his job doesn’t he? Now, after going 0-for-14 in this ALCS, I knew it was time for Jason Varitek. When he got up to the plate in the sixth inning (was it?) I knew. I don’t even know how, but I knew. I didn’t have a single doubt in my mind. I called his shot, placement and everything. And it was our captain that broke the tie. It was then an RBI single by David Ortiz that gave us a much needed insurance run. Not that any lead was at all comfortable.

I knew that Terry Francona would do some kind of combination with Okajima, Masterson and Papelbon. It would either be M.O.P. (mop ‘em up!) or O.M.P (Oh my Papelbon!!!). Okajima, once again, came through for us as that “hero in the dark” and with eight outs to go, it seemed like the Rays were in a similar situation that the Sox were in only two nights ago, with a much smaller deficit. But it was the Red Sox bullpen that was able to hold onto it. I swear, Terry Francona loves Justin Masterson, but who wouldn’t? He was in AA early this year and now he’s our eighth inning man? Even though he got two men on quickly, John Farrell came out and calmed him down, and Masterson was all strikes from there! Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a solid ninth, but you could tell he didn’t have his normal stuff when his fastball peaked at 93 mph. It worked though! And now, once again, it’s time for game 7.
I’m happy that Terry Francona is going to be giving Jon Lester the ball. We’ve got to ignore what happened in Game 3 and just focus on Game 7. I think that it was the fact that everyone was so confident in Lester, the fact that everyone had already chalked up a win for him, I think it just got to his head. He’s still a young guy, and the key here, is to not let his emotions get the best of him. As for Matt Garza, the key for him is to get him really pissed off. Start fouling off on purpose, start bunting, stealing, whatever. If we can get a run or two in the first inning, Garza will go sooner. I think Garza gets over confident too. In Game 5 at Fenway he was joking around and shushing the crowd, as if he had already opened the bottles of champagne. But boy was he in for a surprise. I think the Rays are still going to have that ‘deer caught in headlights look’. Pena thinks that they’re due for a turn around, but they already had their peak. The Red Sox are still riding their turn around, and they’re not stopping yet. I believe in Jon Lester. I don’t care about his last start, and he said that last year is irrelevant too (although he has pitched in a clinching game). And he’s absolutely right. He just needs to focus on this game. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again. It’s time for Game 7, it’s not time to say: oh we’re making that same comeback like we did in ’04 and ’07. No. If you focus on the past, then you definitely will never progress. It’s nice to think about, and it still leaves me a little bleary eyed, but you’ve got to focus on the present. You can’t even think about the future for that matter. If you focus on advancing to the World Series, then you’re not gonna win Game 7. You’ve got to build the bridge before you cross it. We’ve got to focus not only on making Matt Garza royally pissed off, we’ve got to focus on winning every inning, and concentrate on winning every pitch, and for Jon Lester, he’s got to focus on executing every pitch. This is not going to be easy, it never is. The Sox have a lot of momentum going into this game, but that does not mean that it’s over. 
This just in (5:21pm) Terry Francona has announced the lineup:
1. Coco Crisp (CF)
2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
3. David Ortiz (DH)
4. Kevin Youkilis (3B)
5. JD Drew (RF)
6. Jason Bay (LF)
7. Mark Kotsay (1B)
8. Jason Varitek (C)
9. Alex Cora (SS)
Jon Lester (SP)
I’m fine with everyone in this lineup, except for Alex Cora. But, I trust Terry Francona, so I’m not gonna question his decisions. Jed didn’t help us produce last night, or the night before, so it’s time to give someone else a chance. I have a good feeling about Jason Bay tonight!
I believe in everyone in this lineup, I believe in Terry Francona’s decision. 
It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be epic. I believe that the Red Sox can win this game!
-Elizabeth

“I don’t believe what I just saw” Miracles Can Happen

Tessie, “Nuf Ced” McGreevey shouted
We’re not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn’t live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only


We were down 7-0 after the sixth inning. People were quite literally leaving Fenway Park, a lot of them. What they didn’t realize though, and what they don’t have, is the magic of the Red Sox. Miracles CAN happen. We just can’t stop believing. And trust me, we didn’t. Dustin Pedroia started it all off with an RBI single, and Big Papi followed with a 3 run homer that you knew was gone the second that he hit it. It was 7-4. Could miracles happen… again? Next inning, JD Drew hits a towering two run homer, Mark Kotsay hits a double and Coco Crisp gets an RBI to tie the game. We TIED the game. The greatest comeback in Red Sox postseason history (in a single game), perhaps in baseball postseason history. We scored eight runs after almost all hope was lost. We really did focus on just game 5, we really did just focus on all nine innings, and we really did focus on pitch by pitch. The middle relief, was outstanding. Justin Masterson, is absolutely incredible. That double play that he got Carlos Pena to ground into, it kept my faith going. Jonathan Papelbon came in for two solid innings of relief before that. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay are on first and second with JD Drew up to the plate. JD Drew lines one into right field over the Rays’ head and Kevin Youkilis comes around to score! 
It’s not over yet, we’re going to Tampa Bay and it’s time to look forward to Game 6. There will be no champagne celebrating for the Rays tonight. One of the TBS commentators mentioned that the Rays fans were dancing in the streets of St. Petersburg. Well, I think he got that backwards. The fans of Fenway were dancing in the streets of Yawkey Way. We’re going to Tampa.
Miracles can happen baby
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